Beware the dangers of purchasing a vehicle privately


Trading standards officers have recently issued a warning to drivers that many low-cost vehicles being sold in the second-hand market are too dangerous to be driven on the roads.

A recent spate of findings (following an undercover operation in Herefordshire) has revealed that vehicles are being sold in an unfit state particularly to young drivers who are not aware of the dangers that they face in purchasing privately in good faith. The Trading Standards office found that 5 out of 8 vehicles bought had a history that was less than desirable. In some cases, the defects were extremely dangerous and would almost certainly have caused accidents had they not been discovered.

If you are considering buying privately, it is well worth considering the following options- having an independent engineer look at the vehicle; insisting on a full MOT before purchase; or checking the vehicle on various online websites, set up specifically for the purpose.

In particular, websites such as and (linked to Experian) charge a small fee for a full vehicle check, which will tell you whether a vehicle has any outstanding finance recorded, is or has been a write-off, is stolen or has been clocked (ie the mileage clock has been changed to mask a significant mileage).

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